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Ava is Four Months Old

Ava turned four months old last Thursday.  She had a wellness checkup and she is 85% for weight and height!  She’s 25.5 inches long.  Ava fits into six-month onsies and 9-12 month pants.  It’s pretty funny when she wears a one-piece with pants because the arms will be normal and the pants will look like capris.

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Ava has been making great strides with her motor skills.  She can hold things for longer and she reaches for objects on her play gym.

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She’s also much better at sitting up with a little assistance.  She used to immediately slump over when you propped her up but now she stays up longer and gets mad if you put her in a reclined position.  Ava is developing excellent leg strength.  She pushes up on her feet while in a standing position (heavily assisted), does leg lifts, and can put her whole body up with her feet.  Checkout how high her butt is off the ground!  Also, checkout how much she loves her daddy.

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Updated to add: Jon reminded me of another interesting development.  Jon and I were watching a show (with Ava facing away from the screen) and Jon laughed really loudly at a joke.  Ava jumped, which she’s been doing a lot lately, and then she cried for several minutes.  I think it’s really interesting because it’s the first time she’s cried for something other than being hungry, having a wet diaper, being in pain, or not getting her way (i.e. crying when she wants to be outside, has been in the crib for too long, etc.).

 

Milestones

Ava had two really big milestones this week.  First, her neck is incredibly strong.  Before when you propped her up to sit she could hold her head up but it was very wobbly.  She was steadily gaining neck strength and then one day she started pitching forward when I would hold her.  And from then on, her neck was no longer wobbly.

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Jon and I been taking nightly walks with Ava and Teddy Roosevelt.  I carry Ava in the baby Bjorn and Jon holds Teddy’s leash.  I switched Ava to be outward facing in the baby Bjorn for a short walk one day last week.  The next day I had her facing my chest and she complained because she knew how much better the view can be.  Every since then she’s been outward facing and she loves it.  When she gets tired she leans against my chest.  I can watch her looking up at all the trees and it’s very fun.

 

This isn’t a milestone yet, but Ava will soon be able to roll over.  She wants to be sitting upright and if you lay her down she tries roll over.  If you put her at an angle, she wriggles out of it.  I call this her inchworm routine because she will contort her body to slide down the pillows:

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The second milestone is that Ava can have full blown laughter.  Last week Jon could make her laugh a little.  Now he can make her laugh a lot.  She thinks he’s hilarious.  He dances and makes her move to songs and she loves it.

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For the past two days I’ve had trouble getting her to nurse because she’ll stop eating to laugh at me.  But only when she’s nursing on the right side.  I think she’s mocking that side.  It looks pretty funny to see her grinning with milk dripping off her chin.

Working Mom

It’s funny how the most common question that I get asked after how Ava is doing is how I’m doing with being a working mom.  People assume that I’m going to feel bad for leaving Ava while I go to work.  I’m sure a lot of people would judge me for not having cried the day I went back to work but by then I knew that Ava would be fine without me.  She has a fantastic nanny that adores her.  I did cry the day before I went to work; is that enough suffering?

How can you leave me?

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Here’s the thing: parenting is hard.  After a full weekend of parenting, I look forward to going to work where my thoughts aren’t consumed by formula, breast milk, pooping, etc.  If I stayed at home with Ava all day every day, I might be impatient and I might get frustrated with her.  Right now I’m in a nice position where I’m never mad at Ava.  I might be frustrated by a situation, such as when she won’t sleep at night, but I blame the situation not the baby.

no paparazzi

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After I finish work, I’m really excited to get home to my baby.  The only thing I think will be hard is when she hits milestones without me.  About a month ago, the nanny told me that Ava had been laughing and I though I had missed her first laugh.  Fortunately, we had a different definition of laughter.  Ava has been making little “heh, heh” noises for a month.  Two nights ago she laughed for the first time because Jon fake coughed at her.  You see, about a month ago Ava started making fake coughing noises.   When you fake coughed back at her she would smile and sometimes make the “heh, heh” noise.  But two nights ago she made true sounds of laughter.  It was just as wonderful as I had expected.  Happy babies are the best.

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In other news, I’m down 50 pounds since Ava was born.  I have only a few pounds left to lose to be at pre-pregnancy weight, but I was too heavy at that point so I’d still like to lose 30 more pounds.  It’s all good for now, though, because I can fit into a nice selection of clothing.

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Saturday Morning

I mentioned in my previous post that Ava is growing too big to comfortably sleep on top of me in the mornings.  Well, I’m writing this post at 7:48 am on a Saturday because Ava could never find a position on me that she liked.  I really hope this is temporary.  I was already going to be tired because after 3:30 a.m. I was only asleep for one hour because of insomnia.  There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to sleep due to stress when your infant is sleeping next to you.  I could understand if she kept me awake, but it is unacceptable for my brain to keep me awake.

What is this fist bump that you keep talking about?

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Ava has also decided that she doesn’t want to drink formula anymore.  The nanny thinks it’s because she wants to be sitting up and not in any position less than 90 degrees.  I suspect she’s tired of the formula.  I tricked her into drinking two ounces last night by making her think it was breast milk.  I switched from nursing to the formula while she was very sleepy.  I don’t know what I’m going to do today since she usually drinks about 8 ounces of formula.  She already caught on to my trick later that night when I tried to give her more formula.  I have different bottle nipples arriving today; maybe one of them will help.

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The doctor said that she can start solids after four months.  I would love if I could replace the formula with solids and still nurse.  That would be perfect because then Ava could get only things she liked. It’s hard being limited to only giving her breast milk or formula.  We’ve tried many different kinds of formula and she disliked them all with varying degrees.

Sunday Morning

Ava slept so much better last night, which let me sleep as well!  It’s amazing how much easier it is to manage life when you’ve had enough sleep.  Onto the updates!

I’m trying to give Ava a lot of tummy time to increase her neck strength.  Once her neck is strong enough she can go in a bouncer.  That needs to happen as soon as possible because she’s getting way too big for the swing.  The best way to practice tummy time is to put her in a nursing pillow.  She starts off elevated so it’s easier to push off.  When we practiced tummy time on a flat surface, she’d get frustrated after a minute.

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frilly butt for posterity

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Ava can grasp objects for several minutes.  This is a prime opportunity for me to pose her.  I call this one “Prison baby asks for more gruel.”

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Ava babbles all the time now.  She also learned two nights ago to blow raspberries.  She’s been giving Jon enormous smiles when she sees him for awhile.  Now I get the same honor.  I love it!

 

Ava is a pretty happy baby these days.

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She cries if she’s hungry, tired, or bored, but those are all reasonable things to get upset about.  When it comes to boredom, it used to be that Ava wanted to be moved from thing to thing to thing.  So I would walk inside the house and show her the wall, the blinds, the chandelier, the fan, etc.  Then we’d go outside and I’d show her the trees.  Trees are the best because the wind makes them move and they keep Ava entertained for longer, i.e. two minutes instead of one.  This could get a little tedious on the weekends until I realized that I can play podcasts while we walk around.  Now we’re both happy.

 

Ava loves activities.  You can get her grinning by moving her legs.  I do a bicycle motion.  Jon shows her how to dance.

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She also really likes this mobile that Jon found.  At Ava’s age babies really like black and white images so this mobile has interchangeable cards with black and white images.  It also has color cards so you can switch it up as Ava becomes more interested in color.

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Ava is really lucky to have one parent who does research into toys because I would have just kept walking her from tree to tree to tree.

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Ava also enjoys looking at a lamb that Tiffany knitted for her and a frog that my mom gave her.  Jon enacts plays with them where the lamb is an evil jackal that wants to eat her flesh and the frog saves the day.  The best part is when they fight each other.

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The best time with Ava during the week is from 6-9:30 am.  At 6 a.m., she won’t sleep unless she’s on top of one of us.  So I put Ava on my chest and she snuggles into my neck with one leg hanging off the side.  It’s harder for her to be comfortable now that she’s so long, but we’re still making it work.  At 7 I get up to take a shower and make breakfast while she snuggles on Jon’s chest.  Around 8 Ava will hang out in the swing babbling and smiling while we eat breakfast.  It’s a wonderful life.

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Or she will be on Monday, but I can’t wait that long to post these adorable pictures!

 

One of my favorite bloggers believes that once she writes about something her children are doing something that concerns her, the next day they will do the opposite.  I hope to experience the same phenomenon but based on searching the internet for advice.  One day I was worried because Ava’s hands were always in fists so I researched it and the internet said that it’s only a problem if they don’t start unclenching their hands by four months.  The next day Ava started opening her hands.  Now she’s even working with distinct fingers.  She’s also grasping objects.  This morning she grabbed a toy and shook it.  I’m not sure if she shook it to make noise, but if not she’s very close to reaching that stage.

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Every day she displays a new skill.  I know a lot of people aren’t into babies because they don’t talk and they’re so dependent on you.  I’m here to tell you that I adore babies.  Every time Ava smiles, it makes me happy.  Every little development is amazing.  It used to be that when you blew raspberries on Ava’s belly it didn’t mean anything to her.  But last night she understood that her belly was part of her and she had no idea why it felt so weird.

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Ava has very strong opinions about food.  She gets about 2/3 breast milk and 1/3 formula because I can’t produce enough breast milk.  Her formula is either from powder or liquid that comes in plastic bottles.  I try to use the powder if possible because I don’t like giving her liquids in plastic and the powder is cheaper.  Ava hates formula, and she particularly dislikes the powder.  She will frequently fuss when she first gets it, but there’s not much I can do short of buying breast milk on the black market (although it’s usually contaminated with bacteria so it would actually be worse for her, plus eww).

 

Ava absolutely loves breast milk.  When she gets it from a bottle, she drinks more of it and it makes her sleepier.  When she nurses, she’s very happy.  It used to be that she’d be going about her day and was willing to nurse.  Now when she sees a breast she gets all googly eyed and excited.

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Can someone explain how she got so big in the last three months?  And I’m talking length more than those lovely chunky thighs.  I recently made the shocking discovery that she’s about to grow out of this swing.  Last week I put Ava in the swing and she wasn’t feeling it so she kicked and made the entire swing shudder.  That’s when I realized this is the beginning of the end of the swing.

 

May 26

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Last week

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Do you ever look at your children and realize that you were merely a vessel for making a clone?  I do.

jon

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Just look at how silly we look together.  People probably think I kidnapped her.

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She even has curved legs like Jon.  The only thing on her that is arguably from me is her nose.  And maybe her eyes, but it’s still too early to tell.  At least it’s a cute nose.

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Ava is learning all about objects this week.  She understands that her hands are objects and she chews them all the time.  She’s also having fun with toys.  It all started with a rainbow caterpillar that my friend gave us at a baby shower.  Ava used to be scared of it and now it will stop her from crying because it’s so exciting!  So we bought her an attachment for her carseat and an activity gym.  The carseat attachment has a sphere with tiny balls on it that spins.  When I first made it spin, her eyes widened in delight (it’s the one on the right in the picture).

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The play gym is even more exciting.  It plays music, has flashing lights, a mirror, a rattle, and other toys.  It will keep her occupied for a solid ten minutes.  The best thing is that she knows to wave her arms to make the rattles move.

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A few more tidbits:

  • Ava’s is sounding less like a newborn and more like a baby everyday.  It used to be that if she didn’t get food fast enough she would wimper.  Now she shrieks.  
  • She also babbles a lot more now, especial in the morning. If Jon and I are talking she tries to participate.
  • She also knows how to do more things with her mouth.  First she would mirror my tongue movements by sticking hers out too.  Now she’s been making a snapping noise with her gums.  The first time she ever did it was in the middle of the night when I was positioning her for nursing.  It was such a loud noise I thought I was hearing a bone snap.
  • She smiles all the time.

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We live in an oddly shaped bungalow house.  The house isn’t very wide, but it’s very deep like a shoebox.  This results in a narrow rooms.  The master bedroom is just the upstairs of the house.  When we first moved in, we put the bed at the front of the upstairs so that the window was behind the headboard.  This setup became problematic after Ava was born because I need to get out of the bed easily for changing Ava’s diaper, putting her in a crib someday, etc.  So when my dad was here, he kindly volunteered to help me rearrange the position of the bed to a different wall.

 

We wound up switching the position of the bed with the cockatiels’ setup.  I thought they’d be really excited to be next to a window where they could see everything that was happening outside.

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Unfortunately, Trevor is scared of everything that happens outside, and Conner and Trevor prefer to be in utter darkness.  Stonewall loves the light, and would start singing at 6:30.  After spending all night waking up and tending to the baby, this was even less acceptable than if I was getting regular sleep.  So now there are curtains in front of that window.  Stonewall likes the setup.  He doesn’t fight with Trevor as much as he did before.

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Stonewall is the only one of the cockatiels that’s curious about Ava.  The other cockatiels hiss at her or run away when we walk near them.  I think it’s because of all her crying.  But Stonewall is so interested that sometimes he flies to the bed to look at her.  Here he is creeping up on her.  Moments after this was taken he chewed on her sock.

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Ava Is Two Months Old

It took two months, but I think I’ve finally gotten a handle on this mommy thing.  We’ve hopefully lessened Ava’s gas problems.  She still has times where she cries, but it’s not for hours on end.  And honestly, even if it was I’m now over it.  Before I was so scared and full of doubts; it’s always fear of the unknown with me.  But now I know that she can cry for three straight hours and neither of us will die, although I did consider using earplugs.

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I will admit that there were a few days where I was scared to go home from work and really scared of the looming weekend because it would involve endless days of listening to her cry.  I was scared that I might go through an experience like this.  I’m definitely not cut out to be a stay at home mom.  I much prefer getting excited to see her at the end of the day and having the patience to deal with her, which I suspect I’d be lacking after the ninth hour of staying with her at home.

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I can get very excited about Ava’s bodily functions.  I totally relate to Mihow’s tweet.  What I didn’t get before is that variations from normalcy can result in the baby being in pain.  I’m not excited about poop as much as I’m excited that Ava won’t continue to scream every time she has gas.

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Onto the cute tidbits!

  • She’s really understanding that her arms are attached to her body and she uses them with purpose.  It used to be that she would push your face if you kissed her too much or swat at a bottle when she was full.  Now she’ll also grab my arm when I’m carrying her.
  • When Ava eats she’ll use her hand to caress me.  It’s incredibly endearing and I have to resist the urge to tear up every time.
  • Ava noticeably prefers breast milk to formula.  She’ll accept bottles of formula, but if you give her a bottle with breast milk she’s make an “am-um-um” noise.
  • I’m not sure if it’s cooing or babbling, but Ava’s noises are insanely cute.
  • Ava prefers to direct her noises at some brightly colored wrapping paper.  She will stare at that wrapping paper longer than anything else you can give her.

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